Blue Devils Ground Skyhawks, 88-42

After seeing several ranked teams go down in their openers, the Blue Devils were hoping to avoid a similar fate against Tennessee-Martin. They did and in a big way after a big run to open the second half to cruise to an easy 88-46 season opening victory over the overmatched Skyhawks.

Junior sharpshooter J.J. Redick and Daniel Ewing scored 20 points apiece while Shelden Williams and Shavlik Randolph added a combined 25 rebounds as Duke improved to 24-1 in season openers under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Redick, who finished with four 3-pointers, scored 12 points in the first half as Duke shot just 31 percent (13-of-41) en route to 39-25 lead at the half.

" I thought we were a little bit nervous shooting the ball in the first half," said head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "But I think that was just because it was the first game. I didn't think we were nervous in any other aspect of the game. We weren't nervous, but we were nervous shooting the ball. But in the second half, we weren't."

After the Skyhawks entered the lockerroom with momentum on the heals of a 6-0 spurt, the Blue Devils opened the second half with a 34-6 run that put the game out of reach by the 11 minute mark thanks to Ewing, who hit three of his four threes after intermission while splitting time at the point and scoring guard positions.

With so many concerns surrounding his team's depth entering this season, Krzyzewski used a 10-man rotation that included former walk-ons Reggie Love and Patrick Johnson filling in for Williams and Randolph in the post. The duo combined for just four rebounds and no points in 19 minutes, but kept the starting frontcourt from logging extra minutes.

Only Redick played more than 26 minutes on the night.

After commit Shaun Livingston opted for the NBA, many analysts left the Duke recruiting class out of the top 25. However the duo of DeMarcus Nelson and David McClure provided valuable contributions in their first taste of NCAA action.

Nelson, coming off thumb surgery two weeks ago, scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while McClure started and added four points, three steals, two blocks, and three assists in 18 minutes. Both earned praise for their initial efforts from Krzyzewski.

"McClure has been really solid. He got three steals and a couple of blocks. He's efficient. He actually is our most efficient guy outside of the top four guys on our team. And if we can have DeMarcus continue to get playing time, he doesn't have to be as efficient because he'll get more shots just because of the type of player he is. When he gets healthy, instead of three-for-eleven in that amount of time, he might go seven-for-eleven. With nine rebounds, that's a pretty good contribution and that's what we need to focus on. I'm pleased with both of those kids."

Defensively Duke forced Tennessee-Martin into 23 turnovers, while holding the Skyhawks to just 34 percent shooting from the field, while out-rebounding them 57-35. Those 57 rebounds, included 26 offensive boards that led to several second chance points during the decisive second half run.

Lee Melchionni became the sixth Blue Devil to reach double-figures on the night by adding 10 points off the bench.

Duke returns to action on Monday night in Charlotte against Davidson. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00. The game will be televised on espn2.

The Devils Den Top Stories